104 pages 3 hours read

Harriet Jacobs

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1861

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Use this activity to engage all types of learners, while requiring that they refer to and incorporate details from the text over the course of the activity.

“Harriet Jacobs Comparison”

In this activity, students will use media to draw comparisons between Harriet’s experience as an enslaved person with another enslaved person.

Research the experience of an enslaved person in the United States and compare the journey of Harriet with that person. Create a media presentation drawing comparisons to Harriet’s early life, her experience in slavery, and her life as a self-emancipated person. Use the bulleted points below to guide your comparison.

  • What is the educational background of the individual?
  • What struggles occurred in the early life of the enslaved person?
  • Did emancipation occur for this person?
  • What are the experiences of their children?
  • What, if any, family support systems were present?

Share your presentation with peers explaining similarities and differences using details from the memoir to support your presentation.

Teaching Suggestion: Students may find it beneficial to brainstorm possible comparisons that may be made to Harriet Jacobs’s life to create an outline for their presentation. Consider discussing possible enslaved people to use for comparison to Harriet such as Fredrick Douglass and William Wells Brown.

Differentiation Suggestion: Students who struggle with independent research may find it difficult to draw comparisons between Harriet’s life and that of another person.